We have the playlist to end all playlists for your next road trip across Ohio. Featuring the best from Ohio-natives along with every sweet song about the Buckeye State. Hang on Sloopy… O-H-I-O!
The Ultimate Ohio Road Trip Playlist
Hang on Sloopy – The McCoys
The song is a 1965 #1 classic and the McCoys are originally from Dayton, Ohio, so the song should be on the playlist for an Ohio road trip on that criteria alone. Ohio people, however, know this is more than just a classic song- it’s the State of Ohio’s “Official Rock Song.” The Ohio General Assembly made a resolution in 1985 to declare it such, making Ohio the first state to adopt an official rock song.
Why is this song so precious to the people of Ohio? Because Ohio State Football is so precious to the people of Ohio (and the OSU marching band). When they began playing the song during football games, a tradition was born. Go to any Columbus bar and you’ll hear this song covered and the crowd cheering O-H-I-O after each “hang on sloopy” line.
Cleveland Rocks – Ian Hunter (as performed by The Presidents of the United States of America)
This one is obvious enough… It’s the best dang advertisement for Cleveland since, well, ever. Written and recorded by Ian Hunter for a 1979 album, the song was his way of defending Cleveland for its “uncool” image. Cleveland radio station WMMS took hold of the song, playing it every Friday at 6 PM while Cleveland sports teams adopted it as a victory song.
Of course, you know it from the Drew Carey Show… (Drew is from Cleveland, obviously.)
Let Me Be the One – Blessid Union of Souls
Oh yeah, we went 90s on you. Cincinnati natives, Blessid Union of Souls made us all cry with “I believe,” and then followed up with a plethora of feel-good music through the 90s and early 2000s. Any of their songs will do just fine on your road trip, but save “Oh Virginia,” for when you drive through, well, Virginia.
Ah Me – Griffin House
Cincinnati born-and-bred, Griffin House has a cult following in his home state, especially graduates from his alma mater, Miami University. His early albums have a particularly special “road trippy” feel. For a little bonus, we also included “Volkswagen” on the playlist.
Look at Miss Ohio – Gillian Welch
This calming song talks about a girl who wants to move on from her small town and become an adult, but isn’t quite ready to move on. Perfect songs for an Ohio country road.
Ohio – Over The Rhine
Over the Rhine shows their love for Ohio with an entire album bearing the state’s name. Like Welch’s Ohio song, this song won’t get the party going, but it’s perfect for a drive along the Ohio River or a lonely 2 lane highway. We threw in “Jesus in New Orleans” on the playlist for its chill, lonely highway vibe.
Ohio – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
The most impactful song on the list, this folk protest song reminds us of the Kent State shootings of 1970 when Ohio National Guardsmen shot and killed four students. It’s not a feel-good road tripping song, but it’s just too important to leave off.
Four Days – Counting Crows
On a lighter note, 90s pop heroes Counting Crows want to tell you about a girl this miss in Ohio.
Girl From Ohio – The Outlaws
Much the same from the Outlaws, just with a much folksier feel.
Key to the Highway – Eric Clapton (w/B.B. King)
Bet you didn’t know Eric Clapton lives in the suburbs of Columbus? Yep. Sure does. Our friend even claims to have seen him at the mall, but that doesn’t seem very Slow-Handish. Why not celebrate his Ohio residency with a road trip song featuring legendary B.B. King?
Love Train – The O’Jays
Canton, Ohio’s very own R&B legends, the O’Jays topped the charts with this fun-loving 1970s hit…
I’ll Stand By You – Pretenders
Believe it or not, The Pretenders front-woman, Chrissie Hynde is an Ohio-native. Crank this ballad and sing your heart out.
The Crossroads – Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
You’re already singing the opening to this song in your head right now… Baaa baaa baa baa baaa bone bone bone… That’s right BTNH are also from Cleveland, Ohio.
Love Rollercoaster – Ohio Players
More Ohioans with feel-good cheesy hits…
Shout – Isley Brothers
Try you best not to take your hands off the wheel every time they say “shout!” The Legendary Isley Brothers are also from the great state of Ohio. Of course, who can forget the Otis Day and the Knights’ version in Animal House…
South of Cincinnati – Dwight Yoakam
So, really this song seems more fitting for a Kentucky list, but it says Cincinnati over and over again, so how can we leave it off? Plus, Dwight is originally from Columbus, OH.
Well, there you have it. That’s enough Ohio-centric music to last your entire trip in, through, or around the Buckeye state.